north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     The land for what has come to be known as the Old English Cemetery in Salisbury was originally set aside for the town by the colonial assembly in 1770. The title for the "Burying Ground" was assigned to the town commissioners, one of whom was Thomas Frohock. Frohock donated the plot to the city upon his death in 1794. Over the ensuing decades the cemetery became the final resting place for generations of the leaders of Rowan County. Best known of those individuals was Gov. John Ellis (1820-1861), who died seven months into his term as the state’s chief executive. The cemetery includes a number of unmarked British graves, those likely being the remains of soldiers in Cornwallis’s army who died while in jail in Salisbury. Cornwallis’s camp was situated on the property where the Rowan Public Library now stands and his soldiers used the old town well at the back of the library property.

     The oldest grave in the cemetery is that of Col. Daniel Little who died on December 10, 1775. The cemetery was restored by the Pine Tree Garden Club of Salisbury in the 1960s. The Freedmen’s Cemetery is separated from the Old English Cemetery by a stone wall. In recent years efforts have been mounted to memorialize those buried in the Freedmen’s Cemetery and to repair the monuments in the Old English Cemetery.

James S. Brawley, The Rowan Story, 1753-1953 (1953)
Davyd Foard Hood, The Architecture of Rowan County (1983)
Salisbury Evening Post, September 9, 1966
Salisbury Post, August 18, 2003
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources